Psalm 8 and John 16:12-15
Don’t we live in the best part of God’s creation? I sit in my living room and look out directly on the upper portion of our maple trees. I’ve watched the maple trees go from bare branches, to bud, to baby leaves (I really like baby leaves) to teenage leaves, to full adult leaves.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! –You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1, 6-9.)
King David wrote this Psalm and at that point there was only one part of the Trinity; God the Father, so he praised the One True God. That’s all they knew in Old Testament times. Please take care of this beautiful place we have chosen to live in. If we don’t, someday it will not be here.
The Trinity is a mystery. God manifests himself in three forms–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–the Creator, the crucified one and the comforter who lives in our hearts. What does it all mean? It’s a mystery. The best we can do is use analogies to try to explain it
The Fathers of the Church used examples to explain the Trinity. They said: Look at a tree if you want to try to understand God. There is the root, the trunk and the fruit.
The root is like God the Father, invisible but you know it’s there, the trunk is like God the Son, sent forth by the Father, visible and tangible, the branches and fruit are like the Holy Spirit. We are connected to Christ through the Spirit dwelling in us and by the power of the Spirit we bear fruit in the world.
Or look at a stream: the water rises from a source, but usually that source is hidden, the source of the stream is like God the Father, the stream which we can see and touch is like God the Son, visible because it flows from the one who sent Him, but the water as it flows into the fields, irrigating the plants and giving them life, allowing them to bring forth a harvest is like the Holy Spirit.
Or look at the light. The light comes from the sun, the source of light, but we see the light most clearly when it pierces through the clouds as a sunbeam. When we are sitting in a room and the light shines in and touches us, we are warmed and can feel the light. So, the sun is like the Father, the beam like the Son and the warmth like the Holy Spirit.
What each of these illustrations has in common is that they are all analogies trying to explain the Trinity. God isn’t the tree or the stream or the light, yet God is all of them. All our language about God can only hint at the reality, never grasp God in one image.
We affirm a belief in the Son, Jesus Christ. We say that God took on human form, came and lived among us, suffered the same trials that we suffered, experienced the same feelings that we experience. Jesus was purely human and purely divine. Jesus was not God. Jesus was God incarnate. There is a difference. Jesus never drew attention to himself but always pointed to God.
Soren Kierkegaard, the great Danish theologian of another century tells a story of a prince who wanted to find a maiden suitable to be his queen. One day while running an errand in the local village for his father he passed through a poor section. As he glanced out the windows of the carriage his eyes fell upon a beautiful peasant maiden. During the ensuing days he often passed by the young lady and soon fell in love. But he had a problem. How would he seek her hand?
He could order her to marry him. But even a prince wants his bride to marry him freely and voluntarily and not through coercion. He could put on his most splendid uniform and drive up to her front door in a carriage drawn by six horses. But if he did this he would never be certain that the maiden loved him or was simply overwhelmed with all of the splendor. As you might have guessed, the prince came up with another solution. He would give up his kingly robe. He moved into the village, entering not with a crown but in the garb of a peasant. He lived among the people, shared their interests and concerns, and talked their language. In time the maiden grew to love him for who he was and because he had first loved her.
This very simple, almost child-like story, written by one of the most brilliant minds of our time explains what we Christians mean by the incarnation. God came and lived among us. I am glad that this happened for two reasons. One, it shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is with us, that he is on our side, and that he loves us. Secondly, it gives us a first hand, view of what the mind of God is really all about. When people ask what God is like, we as Christians point to the person of Jesus Christ. God himself is incomprehensible. But in Jesus Christ we get a glimpse of his glory. In the person of Jesus, we are told that God, that mysterious other being who created the stars and the universe, is willing to go all of the way, to be one of us, talk our language, eat our food, share our suffering die on a cross. Why? So that a single person, each and every human being might be redeemed.
John Wesley once said, “Show me a worm that can comprehend a human being, and then I will show you a human being that can comprehend the Triune God.” Luther’s comment was even more to the point. “To try to comprehend the Trinity endangers your sanity.” I tend to agree with Justo Gonzalez who once said, “Trinity is a mystery, not a puzzle. You try to solve the puzzle, you stand in awe before a mystery.”
And how do we describe the Holy Spirit? In John 16:12-14 we read Jesus’ words, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”
We know what happened at Pentecost: The Holy Spirit came with tongues of fire and a strong wind and those 12 disciples, they had chosen Matthias to take Judas place, were given the power to build the Church of Jesus Christ. With the Father, Son and Holy Spirit guiding our lives, we have the strength to endure our earthly struggles, and to build the church of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God.
If you haven’t given your heart and your life to Jesus, who is a part of the Holy Trinity, why not do it today.
Let us pray. Jesus, help me to recognize my sins and to ask forgiveness for them. When your forgiveness, mercy and grace, comes into my life, I will be given the power to love and serve you, Holy Trinity and my neighbor. I pray this in your precious name, Jesus. Amen
Pastor Rosemary DeHut